Fox is a YA author, creative writing mentor, and an advocate for diversity.
Fox runs the Trowbridge Young Writers Squad, is the founder of The Variety Shelves – a series of events highlighting diversity in literature, throughout 2015 – and one half of the team running DiversifYA.com
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Only a few days before your book is released, how are you feeling?
A bit deer-in-headlights, but I’m very, very excited to be sending this book out into the world.
Why did you want to write The Last Leaves Falling?
It started out as a very different book, following a conversation about suicide in Japan. Hovering at roughly 30,000 per year, Japan’s suicide rate is about 60% higher than the world average. It’s the second highest causes of death in young people and still the leading cause in women age 15-34. That’s horrifying.
Last Leaves started out exploring why. In the original, Sora was one of three teenagers forming a suicide pact. But it turns out the story was all wrong for the characters in my head. I was forcing them to make desperate, irreversible decisions in the name of plot, and ultimately I couldn’t go through with it. So I relinquished control to the characters and the story’s focus shifted. To choice, control, and dignity.
The moral and legal debates surrounding end of life choices and the right to die are – correctly – impassioned. We’re all connected to it. Whether we’ve watched someone fight or languish, or have simply wondered what if this were me? Whether we’re for or against it or somewhere in between. Of course we are all passionate. It affects us all.
Debating is good. The issues are complex and the potential for harm if we get it wrong is very, very real.
Last Leaves offers one perspective – the voice of one, lone, fictional teenager – but I hope that it’s done in such a way that readers can approach the issues and explore them safely, and make up their own minds.
You can read the rest of Sarah’s interview by clicking on this link HERE
– it comes with loads of brilliant book recommendations. 🙂
“And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this…”
Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.